New Orleans Plantation Country: Louisiana History and Nature
By Vange Tapia
Having had the fortune of visiting 10 of Louisiana’s beautiful cities, it’s clear to me that there is so much to this USA holiday destination beyond New Orleans. I love New Orleans! And I love even more to know that not far away you find New Orleans Plantation Country, one more destination in this beautiful state.
Swamp Tour and Airboat Ride
If you ever want to know all about Louisiana swamps, call Arthur. If you ever get lost in a swamp, call Arthur. Because Captain Arthur Matherne’s airboat tours delve into the swamps like no one else’s to explore Louisiana’s wildlife. A former Coast Guard captain and lifelong resident of Bayou Gauche, Arthur knows this spectacular ecosystem like the back of his hand. He pointed out exotic flora and fauna rarely seen anywhere else.
Not only is the scenery awesome (better than the movies), but the captain has a unique connection with nature. He stopped to say hi with a couple of pats to "Al" (an alligator), his girlfriend "Alice" and some other toothy friends a few feet ahead.
Once called the “Sugar Palace,” Houmas House Plantation was also at one time the largest producer of sugar in the country. What you’ll immediately notice about the Houmas House Plantation is the beautiful and expansive grounds surrounding the mansion. The landscaping is meticulously maintained and the flowers are replanted throughout the year according to the season. In the back of the house is a breath-taking fountain, making for a picture-perfect scene. I could have spent hours just leisurely strolling the gardens and stopping to rest on one of the many benches around the plantation.
In addition to its spectacular gardens, Houmas House Plantation has elegant architecture and decor, offers cabins for lodging and even has fabulous restaurants right on site. Latil’s Restaurant, dating back to the 1770s, is one of the most luxurious dining experiences you’ll find in all of the state, but you can have a more casual lunch at Burnside Café or savour boutique wines at the Wine Cellars of Houmas House.
There is so much to see and do at Houmas House Plantation, and the tours are absolutely a must!
Destrehan Plantation, the oldest documented house in the lower Mississippi Valley and only 25 minutes away from New Orleans, is a favourite stop in New Orleans Plantation Country. Here they explain in detail about the house’s architecture with wood blocks, how the residents lived and even showcases documents signed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Craft demonstrations are a part of their award-winning tour. It really is that good! I also got to witness a beautiful wedding setup in the barn decorated with artful bouquets of cotton just before the wedding was about to start.
It doesn’t matter how much I tell you about this beautiful region. The only way to experience this historic journey that will transport you back in time is to visit the New Orleans Plantation Country yourself.